At Fräulein we celebrate the inspirational women, those who make a change, explore new possibilities in fashion -or in any other fields of creation- and enlight us with the sharing of their knowledges. We had a conversation with visual artist Joanna Grochowska around on the subject of posthumanism.
You may be unfamiliar with the topic that is posthumanism, this philosophical perspective took shape in the 1980s as a continuation of the development of new technologies permitting humans to go into outer space and challenged traditional notions of what constitutes the human body. Until then, there was believed to be a clear distinction between humans, animals, and machines, where humans were placed above all else in the hierarchy of things. The rapid evolution of technology, notably in the medical field where it permitted human beings to live with external organisms inside of their bodies to enhance their capacities, brought forth questions about the boundaries of the human. Where does the human body end and technology begin? What does it mean to be human when the organism meets the machine? What is natural and what is unnatural?
Joanna Grochowska, Opening the Future, 2021
This questioning brought about a rejection of these rigid boundaries by de-centring the human and re-thinking the humanist hierarchy. Along with it, the notions surrounding the binaries long imposed by society were being revised and posthumanism did away with traditional conceptions on gender and identity. Today more than ever, thanks to the advances made in the technological fields allowing for a deeply digitalised world, the possibilities for exploration are endless as the virtual meets the real and contests preconceived understandings of the human form. Think Fecal Matter.
Joanna Grochowska is a contemporary artist that navigates post humanist theories of the body and goes beyond as to explore transhumanism and human enhancement technologies. Her work contributes to the dialogue about morphological freedom and the future, and the conceptual basis of her art are the notions of Transgression and Singularity. Through her imagery, the distinctions between human and non-human, physical and non-physical are blurred. Disturbing at time yet inexplicably attractive.
Joanna Grochowska, Buried, 2021
In her latest solo exhibition titled “Opening the Future”, the artist explores new posthuman figurativeness through sophisticated mannequinisation of the human body. Her photography depicts human like bodies transgressing traditional views of the human form. Her figures are faceless, leaving it to the viewer to interpret their androgynous anonymity. Their bodies are not quite male nor female, thus challenging the binarity of gender and suggesting something more, beyond human, almost alien like. The eroticism of the subject’s poses, which are either passive surrendering to the floor or more assertive and dominant, can be seen as a way of provoking the viewer and creating new desires linking back to notions of transgression. Our bodies are changing, we now embrace the posthuman.
The exhibition will run in Munich until August 7 at the Størpunkt Gallery.
left: Joanna Grochowska, PROTOTYPE, 2021
right: Joanna Grochowska, Portrait, 2020
Text by Victoria Wetzell Moya-Mendez
All images by Joanna Grochowska